After months of work, it was great to see over 70 people gather for the inaugural Neighbhourhood Networking Night on January 18th. There was a real buzz in the room as the group assembled for a big announcement by Daniel Fontaine, Chair of the New West Progressives (NWP) steering committee.

“I am pleased to announce that as of a few hours ago, I received an email from the Province of BC that we’re now officially a not-for-profit society,” Fontaine told the crowd. “We have an amazing group of individuals who’ve come together to start this grassroots political movement and in nine months we hope to see some real change take hold at both city hall and the school board.”

Daniel Fontaine, Chair of the NW Progressives announces to the crowd that the New West Progressives have become an official not-for-profit society as of January 18th

The NW Progressives have scheduled a founding meeting on Thursday, February 1st. In the spring, the NWP will also establish itself as a formal elector organization and announce an exciting group of individuals who will be taking on the District Labour Council endorsed slate of incumbents during the October 20th civic election.

“Our founding constitution calls for us to remove the influence that provincial and federal politics can often have on our municipal politicians and their decision-making process,” says Fontaine. “Our locally elected politicians should be making decisions which are in the best interests of local citizens, not political operatives in Victoria or Ottawa.”

Once the candidates are announced this spring, the NW Progressives will release a platform document which will detail how we’d like to improve and strengthen our city and schools. Over the course of the new few months, New West residents and business owners are invited to get involved with our local Neighbourhood Networking Nights and contact us through our website to inform us of what they believe should be the key priorities of council and our school board.

Over 70 people gathered to participate in the inaugural NW Progressives Neighbourhood Networking Night on January 18th

“I can’t believe what you guys pulled off in such a short time,” said one of the attendees. “If this type of momentum continues, you may have a David and Goliath battle on your hands, but you just might do it!”

The NW Progressives launched as an organization last November and made front page headlines in the Record newspaper. Since then, we have launched a new website and have been active on social media engaging with local residents.

“We were hoping to get 20-30 people out for our inaugural event,” says Lisa Falbo, Vice-Chair of the NWP. “We actually had to cut off registration due to the fact we were over subscribed. That’s an amazing problem to have when you’re a new political organization.”

The next Neighbourhood Networking Night will take place on January 31st. Additional sessions will be held in neighbourhoods throughout the city. Be on the lookout for a flyer promoting the event which may come through your door slot or in the mail in the coming weeks!

“Thanks so much to everyone for coming out and supporting us,” said Danielle Connelly, Chair of Communications. “It was great to see so many people here tonight who are encouraging us to develop a positive alternative.”